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Effect of Milk Replacer and Early Weaning Diets on Growth Performance of Buffalo Calves during Weaning Period
A. Azim, A. G. Khan, M. I. Anjum* and M. A. Nadeem
Animal Sciences Institute, National Agricultural Research Centre, Islamabad 45500, Pakistan
*Corresponding Author:


This study was designed to examine the cost effective feeding system of buffalo male calves for quality meat production. Twelve buffalo male calves of 15-21 days of age and 41 ± 2 kg body weight (BW) were randomly divided into three equal groups. Group A was fed milk replacer (MR)  @ 8% of BW for the entire period of 90 days, group B was fed MR  @ 4% of BW + early weaning diet (EWD) on ad libitum and group C was fed MR  @ 4% of BW + EWD for first 45 days and later on EWD only. Average weight gain was 0.42, 0.46 and 0.52 Kg/d and dry matter intake was 0.65, 0.72 and 1.00 kg/d in groups A, B and C, respectively and the difference was significant (P<0.01). Feed efficiency was superior (P<0.01) for group A (1.55) and B (1.62) compared to C (1.94). Feed cost per kg weight gain of group C was 52 and 25% less than calves in group A and B, respectively. In trial I (at 8th week), digestibility of both DM and CP was higher (P<0.01) in group A (96.28 and 94.32%) than B (87.53 and 85.92%) and C (88.32 and 84.46%). Similar trend of DM and CP digestibility was found in trial II (at 12th week). Dressing percentage of group C was the highest (P<0.05), however, carcass composition and weights of non-carcass components differed non significantly among groups. Feeding calves MR @ 4% of BW + EWD on ad libitum for first 45 days and later on EWD was the most cost effective feeding system.

Key words: Buffalo calves; Carcass characteristics; Growth performance; Nutrient digestibility


ISSN 0253-8318 (Print)
ISSN 2074-7764 (Online)